How to take good silhouette photos

How to take good silhouette photos

Digital cameras struggle when you have a scene with both very bright and very dark things in it—in photography terms, a wide dynamic range. One option is to use flashes to try and brighten up the dark areas; the other, and often better option, is just to embrace it and shoot a silhouette. Let’s look at how.

How to Take a Silhouette Photo

Silhouette photos aren’t hard to take, but they’re only possible in certain circumstances. You need a subject that is backlit by a bright light source, and that source must also be in the image.

The simplest time to take silhouette photos is in the hour or two after sunrise or before sunset on a clear day. With the sun sitting low in the sky, it’s easy to position your subject so it’s silhouetted. It doesn’t even need to be directly in front of the sun since that whole horizon will also be very bright—like it is in this photo I took of my dog on the beach this morning an hour after sunrise. I’m going to use it as my example for this article.

How to take good silhouette photos

One quick note. While I’m going to focus on using the sun as your light source, you can take silhouettes with any bright light. The sun is just the brightest thing available to most people.

When you’re shooting a silhouette, you’ll find it easier if you use manual or aperture priority mode. Underexpose the photo by a stop or two from what your camera’s meter recommends. You need to be careful not to blow out the highlights as you want a lot of color in the sky but it’s also a good idea to leave some texture in your subject; you can always turn it completely black in post production.

I’ve possibly overexposed this image a little. You can see in the histogram that I’ve got some pure white in the center of the sun, however, I have the texture I want in my dog so I’m pretty happy with it.

How to take good silhouette photos

If you leave your camera in automatic mode, it will most likely swap between underexposing and overexposing the scene. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a good shot, but you won’t have a lot of control and it will take a few tries. Even if you’re using your phone, you should use an app that lets you have some control over the exposure.

While the autofocus on a modern camera or smartphone shouldn’t have too much difficulty with a silhouette, if it’s kicking up up a fuss, swap to manual focus mode and focus on your subject. As long as you use an aperture of f/8 or narrower, you will have no problem keeping everything acceptably in focus.

How to Edit a Silhouette Photo

Silhouette photos—like almost all photos—are greatly improved with a couple of simple edits. I’m going to work through the changes you normally need to make using the Photos app on my iPhone, but you’ll find similar tools in any editing app. If you have Photoshop, my normal photo workflow will also work perfectly.

The first thing to do is fix any problems. In my image, there’s the small lens flare in the bottom left (which is a common problem with silhouettes) and the horizon isn’t straight (you can see that in the picture above), so I’m going to fix them both at once with the Crop Tool. Here’s the result.

How to take good silhouette photos

Next, it’s time to tweak the brightness and contrast. Play around with the sliders until you get something that looks good, but in general you’ll want to add as much contrast as you can without losing detail. If you’ve underexposed or overexposed your image slightly like me, you should fix that now too.

How to take good silhouette photos

The final step is to intensify the colors that are already in the image. Add as much saturation as you can without making your image look ridiculous. You can also play around with the white balance to push the image more towards yellow or blue.

How to take good silhouette photos

With that done, you should have a pretty epic looking silhouette photo.

How to take good silhouette photos

Tips for Great Silhouette Photos

Taking simple silhouette photos is pretty easy, but if you want to take things a bit further, here are some tips:

At the times you can take silhouette photos, you also get long shadows. You can combine the two and use shadows to create interesting compositions. I’ve done that with this shot of Santa Monica pier.

How to take good silhouette photos

The color of the sky tends to be a big part of good silhouette photos. Don’t just settle for a mildly interesting sunrise or sunset. If you can, visit the same spot a few days in a row until you get a truly spectacular one.

How to take good silhouette photos

A huge number of silhouette images are portraits. When they’re done right, they can be really cool, but they can also be pretty generic. Mix up your subjects and play around with different things like landscape images.

One big thing that can change how your silhouette photographs look is how much texture you leave in the shadow areas. Experiment and see what happens when you leave them totally black versus when you still leave a bit of detail.

Beginner photographers are often told to avoid situations with a high dynamic range but, if you approach it in the right way and know what to expect, you can take some really great silhouette photographs.

by Darlene Hildebrandt | Last Updated: August 28, 2019

What started as an interview with photographer Erika Thornes rapidly turned into a silhouette photography tutorial.

Watch while she explains the basic tips for shooting good silhouette photos and then goes through a digital workflow using Lightroom. If you’ve always wanted to know how to shoot silhouette portraits, this could be the best 40 minutes you’ve spent in a long time.

  • learn the best angle for silhouette photography (and what to do if you can’t get it right)
  • where to stand and where to place the light source
  • how to correctly expose a silhouette portrait
  • tips for creating images that microstock agencies are dying to have
  • Lightroom processing tips for best results
  • how to get a stunning reflection in the water

How to take good silhouette photosSilhouette photo of a young couple bicycling down the beach who stop to kiss

Silhouette Photography Digital Workflow Examples With Lightroom

3 Keys To Great Silhouette Photography

#1 Angle

  • Get low – and if you can’t get low enough, get your subjects up higher
  • Full bodies – subjects should be full length
  • Sky dominates – the horizon should be towards the lower third in the image
  • Light source – the subject should be between you and the light source

How to take good silhouette photosPhotographer’s child in silhouette while jumping on the beach. Erika shows exactly how this shot was achieved in the video above.

#2 Separation

  • Emotion – silhouettes must capture more emotion than you do in a portrait
  • Meaning – viewer needs to be able to understand in an instant what’s happening in the picture

Good separation means that you can clearly see what’s happening in the silhouette.

The edges are sharp and clearly defined. Separation is the opposite of clumping.

How to take good silhouette photos

#3 Exposure

  • Expose for the sky – set your camera to meter off the sky. Make sure it’s not overexposed.
  • No blinkies – check your histogram for blinkies. There shouldn’t be any.

How to take good silhouette photos

How to take good silhouette photos

How to take good silhouette photos

How to take good silhouette photos

BONUS: Lightroom processing tips For silhouettes

Erika discusses lightroom processing tips around the 19 minute mark on the video including these:

  • pump up the brights on the tone curve
  • don’t mess with the saturation
  • adjust your blacks

and finally, some tips on creating reflections off the water

How to create reflection off the water in your photographs

Getting a good reflection is actually about the beach and the tide. The two key points are that you must have a flat beach and you have to have a negative tide of -1 or -2 feet below sea level.

Silhouette photography in a nutshell: “Get low and just shoot everything in raw format. Then just adjust color balance in Lightroom.”

How to take good silhouette photos

I’d like to thank Erika for taking the time with me in what turned out to be a silhouette photography tutorial. Recently we we learning about beach photography tips and this tutorial has expanded on that nicely.

How to take good silhouette photos

About Erika Thornes

Erika is a San Diego based photographer that spends a lot of her time at, or thinking about, the beach.

In her own words “I strive to learn, and love teaching. It is my goal to discover something new each day. I openly share what I learn, and encourage others. My goal, as a photographer, is to make art for you to treasure; that will hang on your grand children’s walls in 50 years. I want the photos to be something that becomes a family gift and heirloom that will bring a sense of history that freezes a moment in time for your family.”

Posted by Kate Wesson Comments 0

Do you struggle taking spectacular silhouette photos with your iPhone? Do you want to know how to capture powerful silhouette pictures as beautiful as this? In this short article you’ll discover eight quick and easy tips for taking stunning silhouette iPhone photos in no time at all!

How to take good silhouette photos

1. Choose a subject with a strong shape that will be easily recognizable as a dark silhouette, e.g. a person, tree or building.

2. Shoot towards the light with the sun (or another strong light source) behind the subject.

3. When taking the photo, tap to set focus, then swipe down on the screen to reduce exposure until your subject appears as a dark silhouette.

4. Shoot when the sun is low in the sky so you can position the light behind your subject and capture the wonderful colors of golden hour.

5. Use simple backgrounds to place maximum emphasis on the silhouette.

6. Shoot from a low angle to eliminate distracting backgrounds and get more sky behind your subject.

7. Use burst mode for action silhouettes of moving subjects.

8. For indoor silhouettes, position your subject in front of a window or strong artificial light source.

Quick Tips Cheat Sheet

Click the image below to download this handy Quick Tips cheat sheet!

In-Depth Tutorials On Silhouette iPhone Photography

To learn more about taking incredible silhouette photos with your iPhone, check out our in-depth tutorials where you’ll discover more great tips and techniques, as well as plenty of inspirational silhouette photos!

How To Take Stunning Silhouette Photos With Your iPhone by Karyn Teno


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How to take good silhouette photos

My wife Tori and I are suckers for a good silhouette. While out photographing, we are always scanning the environment for a good silhouette opportunity. We don’t nail every attempt, but over the past few years, we’ve picked up some simple tips that increase our chances of achieving a killer silhouette shot. If you want to execute a jaw dropping silhouette, put these tips to practice and chances are, you’ll accomplish your goal!

First things first. Probably the most important thing to know when attempting a silhouette is separation. Your subject must stand out from the background for a silhouette to work. Contrast is huge, that’s why in most of our silhouettes, you’ll see our subjects placed in front of an open sky, usually with the sun somewhere behind them. This makes it much easier to pull off a true silhouette.

How to take good silhouette photos

Once you’ve found a good location that separates your subjects from the background, posing becomes the next thing we look to. Since silhouettes are typically just black shapes, it’s important to position your subjects in a way that you can see their features. This makes it obvious to viewers what they are looking at.

We typically have our couples kiss, but in slow motion. That way we can capture that moment right before their lips meet, which still allows their profiles to be seen. Once the subjects lose the separation from each other, they become just one big black blob.

How to take good silhouette photos

In the shot above, there was a perfect area for our subjects to stand. Your eye tends to go straight to the couple because the two big trees lead right to them, and the rest of the scene is dominated by very detailed lines, so the contour of their bodies stand out even more.

Make sure to set your aperture so you have a large depth of field, allowing all the details to be in focus as well. I shoot most of my silhouettes with my 35mm lens and I try not to go lower than an aperture of f/8.

How to take good silhouette photos

The best time of day for a silhouette is around sunset. This provides many more opportunities. If there are awesome clouds in the sky like those in the photo above, even better! The setting sun turns those clouds that beautiful orange color and adds to the overall appeal of the image.

How to take good silhouette photos

How to take good silhouette photos

In the photo above, I made sure to get super low to the ground in order to change my angle so the couple was high above the hill line. If I had shot this from a standing position, only their heads would have been higher than the black hill, and it wouldn’t have worked out as nicely as it did.

How to take good silhouette photos

In some situations, I’m not able to place the couple above the horizon line (which would make the bright sky the backdrop) or there are just too many obstacles. In this case, I really wanted all the trees in the shot, so I had Tori squat behind the subjects and hold a flash with an off-camera trigger attached to it. This creates an awesome rim light around the couple and separates them from the dark tree behind them.

How to take good silhouette photos

Using a wide angle lens for silhouettes is my favorite! It gives a better perspective to our subject’s surroundings. If I wasn’t using a wide angle lens in the photo above, the viewer wouldn’t be able to get a feeling of how big the trees were compared to the couple, taking away some of the dramatic feel from the image. And once again, I saw an opening in the trees that I knew would be a perfect spot to place our subjects, so I had them walk slowly across the scene while I waited for the right moment. They stand out even more because their shape is so different than their surroundings, allowing the viewer’s attention to move straight to the couple.

How to take good silhouette photos

How to take good silhouette photos

We got lucky in the shot above. Normally, it wouldn’t have worked out since she has an equally dark object behind her (the branches), but since the sun is lighting up her hair and creating a rim light separating her from the branches, it worked perfectly.

How to take good silhouette photos

Imagine this shot with her feet down and their heads together… It’d be one black blob sticking out of a hill. Instead, we had Eldine jump into Keith’s arms and throw her feet up in the air, which makes it much easier to understand what’s going on.

How to take good silhouette photos

Here’s a good example of using something other than the sky to separate the subjects from the background. From where we were standing, the sun was creating a beautiful light across the lake. In this case, it was bright enough to create a nice silhouette.

How to take good silhouette photos

This is one of my favorites, even though it could have been done better. The dark cloud behind the couple makes it so they don’t stand out as much as they should. What I should have done was to have Tori pop a flash off behind them so a rim light would separate them from the background more than they are.

How to take good silhouette photos

If the flash is held just right, the light will reflect off of their faces and show a little more detail. The reason why we used a flash in this photo is because the majority of their bodies were below the horizon line, so it would have been a couple heads and shoulders sticking out of the hill.

Put these tips to use and we can almost guarantee a killer silhouette shot will ensue!

About the author: Brett Benham and his wife Tori are a wedding photography team based out of Yucaipa, California. Visit their website here. This post was originally published here.

Are you a fan of silhouette photography? Who isn’t, right?

Wikipedia defines silhouette as:

An image of a person, an object or scene consisting of the outline and a featureless interior, with the silhouetted object usually being black.

How To Capture Good Silhouette Photos:

  1. : Subject: Choose a good subject that you want to be blacked out or in silhouette. Make sure the subject that you choose should have a strong and clear outline.
  2. : Background: Make sure the background you choose is brighter than the subject itself. And if possible, no light should fall on your subject or a little light may do.
  3. : Light: Get your light right by putting it at back of your subject. For instance your source of light is the sun, make sure it is behind your chosen subject. Notice on the round ups above, the light source are behind each subject.
  4. : Exposure: Right exposure is equal to good silhouette picture. If you are in doubt with the exposure, adjust the exposure of the camera you are using. Shooting in different angles will also help in getting the right exposure.
  5. : Posing: Keep your photos as simple as possible. Put your subject where it will stand out from the rest of the objects on the background. If you are shooting a person or a group of people, it can help if they will pose in a position that the whole outline of the body will be captured well in details.

Now then, let’s get into our beautiful examples of silhouette photography!


How to take good silhouette photos

A great photograph is no different than any other work of art, in that it should elicit emotion and engage viewers. One of my favorite ways to engage the viewer of a photograph and encourage them to interpret the image is by utilizing silhouettes.

Silhouettes Engage Viewers

The reason silhouettes are so engaging is because they are so open to interpretation. Think of a silhouette of a man sitting alone on a park bench at sunset. Is he sad and lonely because his wife has passed? Is he relaxed and content? Has he finally achieved an important goal in life? Is he anxious about how much longer he will live, and whether his loved ones will be cared for? Are there religious overtones?

The photographer may have all or none of these themes in mind when creating this image. The interpretation is dictated by the individual viewer’s mindset. The viewer subconsciously projects her own hopes, fears, and mood onto the silhouette.
The reason for this is simple. Your brain is constantly working to fill in the details of what it doesn’t know. In a photo such as this, the silhouette provides a great unknown which we cannot help but interpret.

Technique for Shooting Silhouettes

Taking silhouette photos is an intermediate photography skill. The technique is a little tricky, and it will take some trial and error on your first few attempts before you become proficient.

Silhouette photography requires that we use pure back lighting. That is, we want to place our subject so that we maximize the amount of light in the scene coming from behind the subject.
As an example, let’s describe how we would best set up a shot of a silhouetted woman standing alone on a beach at sunset. Sunlight will be our only source of light, and it will be coming from behind the subject. We will not be utilizing any reflectors or fill flash.

Aperture and Selective Focus

How to take good silhouette photosFirst, focus the camera on the woman. We want the outline of her silhouette to be crisp and in perfect focus. I recommend using a large aperture opening, specifically f8 or higher. The reason for this is we want the background sunset and ocean to be in good focus too.
With the sun just above the ocean horizon, point the camera at the sky just to the side of the sun. Keeping your aperture as you set it, adjust the shutter speed until your exposure is correct.

You may need a long exposure time. Therefore it is good practice have a tripod on hand to keep the camera steady.

Fire off a few shots and check the image on your LCD screen. If you used all the correct settings, you should have a perfectly exposed ocean sunset with your subject rendered as a black silhouette.

Halos and Silhouettes

You can render your silhouette with an interesting halo effect around her. If you desire this effect, move the subject directly in front of the setting sun. This will create a glow, or halo which will further enhance your subject. Such an effect will obviously influence the viewer’s interpretation of your silhouette.

Use Any Subject

Any subject can be rendered as a silhouette provided we are using back lighting. It need not be a person. A silhouette of a tree, or a child’s bike, or any strategically chosen object can add interest to a scene.


Silhouettes add a sense of mystery and intrigue to any image. Because our brains fill in the details of what is not known, a silhouette demands stronger involvement and interpretation from viewers. By using back lighting, and properly exposing the scene for the background, we can create beautiful and interesting silhouettes in our photography.

Learn more about Shooting Silhouettes – read our previous post – How to Photograph Silhouettes in 8 Easy Steps and see our Silhouette Image Collection for some stunning examples.

About the AuthorDaniel Padavona is an avid photographer, and the founder of Warmpicture Royalty-Free Images. Daniel lives in upstate New York with his wife Terri, and their children Joey and Julia.

This is a tutorial for how to turn a picture into a vinyl decal within Cricut Design Space.

I don’t actually have a dog but if I was to get a dog, I’d get this super cute beagle in this photo.

In the meantime, I will just have a decal of him.

This is a quick tutorial on how to turn any photo into a cut file WITHOUT ADDITIONAL SOFTWARE in Design Space.

This applies to wedding photos, your dog, your cat, grandma and a raccoon if that is what pleases you.

I see a lot of tutorials out there on how to make SVGs with different software. People seem to gloss over the fact that it is possible to just convert your bitmap image into cut files within the Cricut Design Space app.

How to take good silhouette photos

How to turn a picture into a cut file for the Cricut

First, let me provide a little technical primer on different file formats.

SVG stands for Scalable Vector Graphic. It is a type of vector image format. A vector image format is different than a bitmap image because it contains directional information (paths) as opposed to pixel information (dots).

The bitmap images you see on the web, that your camera takes, that your printer uses, typically use common bitmap formats like PNG, BMP, or JPEG. Your Cricut, doesn’t know what to do with information that comes in little dots. The Cricut blade needs direction, literally.

Cricut knows the inconvenience of having to only use SVG file or turn bitmap images into SVG files. You might wonder why can’t they just do this for you?

Well, it is actually technically really difficult to transform a bunch of dots into lines. You can just “connect the dots” in any random way.

It takes a lot of math to do this and even Adobe Illustrator (probably the most popular vector image editor) is not great at this.

Cricut Design Space has minimal vectorization functionality. But there is functionality there to convert PNGs to SVGs. They just cloak it in all sorts of terrible what they probably consider consumer level terminology so both the technical and non-technical people have no idea what is actually happening.

How to Export Your Cricut Designs

Did you spend an afternoon designing the perfect card that you just want to share with your fellow Cricut crafting friends?

And then you realize Cricut doesn’t actually let you export any of the designs you make in the app.

Well, I have a small hack I share with all my people. I’ve included this quick tutorial in my resource library.

There are many other options that require no graphics editing skills.

I use a software called Vector Magic to do all my conversions. It takes at most 30 seconds to do anything on this platform. It is best in class for converting bitmap images to vector files.

I did this in about 10 seconds. (and no, I’m not making an affiliate cut from promoting them)

How to take good silhouette photos

However, I do understand the need to just deal with one piece of software.

Thank you for indulging me in my technical rant. Let’s get back on topic…

How to turn a photo into a cut file in Design Space

Step 1: Convert photo to SVG in Cricut Canvas Upload

How to take good silhouette photos

Step 2: How to turn a photo into a SVG using Cricut Advanced Options

For this project, select “complex”.

Then select the “Advanced Options” on the following screen.

How to take good silhouette photos

Step 3: How to turn an image into a cut file using Cricut Select & Erase

Each photo will require different setting so you will have to play with the flowing steps to get the image to you preferences.

First we want to vectorize the image. There are a few different ways to control this in Design Space. In this current step, it is easiest to control the number of cut paths by how many colors you want to simplify the original photo down to. The original photo contains many many different colors (lots of different shades). I see 3 main colors in this image. I like to start with 3x the numbre of main colors I see. This gives about 3 variations on each other to make sure cute beagle here maintains some “resolution” so we can continue to see his cuteness. In this example, I start with Reduce colors = 9. (I ended up using 8.)

The next step is to “erase” part of the image. Use the “erase” wand in the upper left corner.

I usually start by just removing the color that is closes with the background.

I then remove chunks but leave an outline so the essence of the beagle is intact. If I don’t like a particular move, I can always “redo” in the upper right hand corner.

How to take good silhouette photos

Step 5: Cut Image

When I am satisfied with this part, I hit Continue.

Then I “Save as Cut Image”

That’s it! Cute beagle decal is all yours!

How to take good silhouette photos

Interested in more Free Cricut Projects?

Interested in making your own SVGs?

How to take good silhouette photos

Learn how to use Inkscape and Adobe Illustrator with my ebook series Crafty Designs.

Introduction: How to Take Silhouettes

How to take good silhouette photos

How to take good silhouette photos

How to take good silhouette photos

Silhouettes can create such powerful images, due to the simple isolation of subject. They remove all distractions and all you see is the a perfectly sharp black outline against a beautiful background. Silhouettes have no face, brand, or logo, it simply represents what it is. By separating all of that you are left with a striking image of an ambiguous theme appealing for multiple audiences.

Alright enough with all of this metaphorical crap, in case you don’t know, silhouettes are, the dark shape and outline of someone or something visible against a lighter background especially in dim light. All thats really happening is, the camera is metered to the light source, so the areas not lit, will be underexposed resulting in a silhouette. Because the sun is a really big bright light that everyone has access to, it is the most popular method of achieving a Silhouette. Even if the sun is below the horizon, or behind something it still gives off so much light that there is a pretty glow in the sky that we can use too.
Now that you know a little be about Silhouettes this tutorial is going to show you how to take some stunning silhouetted pictures.

Step 1: What You Will Need

Step 2: Setting Your Camera

If you have a camera with the option of manual mode skip this paragraph if not, I will explain a quick and easy way to achieve this shot. Your camera or phone is going to fight desperately against us, and try not to expose a silhouetted image. These cameras are programmed to test the light and then use everything its got to create a perfectly exposed image with either a flash or a high iso(which we don’t want for this.) So to trick the camera, point it directly at the light source, hold down the shutter release halfway like you would to focus the camera and it should take one last light reading before it exposes it. Once it has measured the light, compose your image, then press the shutter down the rest of the way. I’ve used this before and it works great, except the silhouette is a little out of focus because when you measure the light, you also focus it. Thats the only way I have found to work decently so far, but please experiment and let me know what you find.

Most cameras by default are set to whats called “evaluative metering” which means, the built in light meter will measure the light from the whole scene to and give you an average measure of the light so you get an average exposure (to avoid Silhouetting). This works fine in most cases but you need to point your camera up in the sky, set the exposure even, then bring it back down to your subject and take the picture.

The other alternative is something called spot metering. With spot metering, the camera will only measure a very small area of the scene in the center of the frame (only between 1-5%). this will allow you to get more specific readings of the light to better expose the silhouette.

Now center the at the brightest part of the sky and get the reading, once you’ve done so set up the picture how you want it to be and take it. Depending on the background and the subject, you might want use the highest aperture you can without sacrificing anything bellow 1/60 of a second if your shooting action. The high aperture will get foliage and buildings crisp, rather than have a blurry looking shadow(unless thats what you’ve intended).

White Balance! Auto is always an option, and will still give you good accurate colors. Because there is no “Sunrise/Sunset” mode, we must revert to the Kelvin scale. I won’t get into how it works for all light, but if your camera has the option “K” under white balance or “WB,” use that. The color temperature we will be using is somewhere in between 2000 and 3000 which will really boost the color in the sunsets.

Step 3: Angles

in order to create the silhouette the subject needs to be in front of a light source so it doesn’t get drowned in the ground or in front of something dark. Some angles to consider, get as low to the ground as you can to make sure your getting as much of your subject as possible. If you can, try getting below your subject to isolate them in the sky. If there is some kind of reflection on water or ground then you might be able to use that as a second light source and shoot down.

Step 4: Locations

Silhouettes can be taken almost anywhere you want, but for attractive backgrounds seek: wide open skys, some foliage for perspective, colorful sunsets, even urban landscapes.

Step 5: Subjects

For me, combining a sweet action shoot with a beautiful sunset makes a great image. I really like using skaters and BMX riders for this because if you were to take a picture of this not silhouetted, there is so much going on at once. This isn’t bad but sometimes its interesting to see a contrast. As you can see in the picture bellow, it freezes this outline of skateboarder and all you see is the beauty of the trick.

Aside from that, when choosing subjects, just think of what the outline of it would look like. So something like a pig wouldn’t be so good for this because it doesn’t have any distinct features that would stand out in a silhouette. You can’t really go wrong with using people, but try to have them doing something interesting or striking a pose.

Step 6: Conclusion

There is no real wrong way to create a silhouette, this is just the way I have been taught and do it; have fun and experiment. Below I attached some Silhouetted pictures I have taken. Thanks for reading!

February 13, 2013

Today’s tutorial is two-fold. Yay! I love two-for-one deals, don’t you? First, I’m going to teach you how to create a silhouette of any image using FREE editing software (no Photoshop required). This technique is AWESOME because you can use it for more than just creating silhouettes. You can use it to remove the background from any picture and create those coveted “layers” that fancy photoshop people always create. Then, I’m going to take things a step further and show you how to use the new Silhouette double-sided adhesive paper to create an adorable flocked silhouette card. Let’s get this tutorial party started!

How to take good silhouette photos

For Valentine’s Day, I wanted to make a silhouette image of my wedding picture below for a card for my man.

How to take good silhouette photos

Step 1: Go to and click on the “Create New Blend” button.

It is the fourth icon over and looks like a blue stack of papers. (Don’t upload your photo first. Click on the Create New Blend button first.) Enter the pixel size you would like for your project or just use the preset if you’re not sure.

How to take good silhouette photos

Step 2: Click on the “Photo” tab and upload your photo.

How to take good silhouette photos

Step 3: Re-size your picture to the desired size.

I recommend just filling the box with your picture. Just click on the picture and drag the corners to re-size.

How to take good silhouette photos

Step 4: Click on the button that says “Vector Mask” and then on “Add Vector Mask”.

This sounds space-age and scary. It’s not. What you are doing here is drawing little dots around a part of the picture that you want to “cut out”. I “traced” around our faces clicking little dots all along the way to remove the background from the picture.How to take good silhouette photos

Step 5: Once you are done “tracing” your image it will look something like the picture below.

You can move each individual dot to make it as precise as possible. You can also use the “feather” tool on the left under “Mask Settings” to smooth the edge of your image. Hover over the “Apply Mask” button and see if you like the way your image looks before clicking. If everything looks good, click on Apply Mask.

How to take good silhouette photos

Step 6: Your image is now it’s own “layer” free from its former background.You can change the color of the image by choosing “Color Overlay”.

Click anywhere on the color band to change the color. Slide the slider to black in order to create a silhouette image.

How to take good silhouette photos

Step 7: Click the “Done” button in the upper right corner and then save your image to your computer.

Congrats! You now have a silhouette image that you can print out and frame.

How to take good silhouette photos

And now we are moving on to part TWO of our tutorial! If you don’t have a Silhouette machine and want one NOW is the time to buy! They are still on sale but only briefly, so score one while you can at a discounted price. Click on this link or on the picture below and use Promo Code “A2Z” at checkout.

How to take good silhouette photos

How to take good silhouette photos

Step 1: Open Silhouette Studio and import your silhouette photo into a new project.

Click on the “Trace” button which is the icon on the far right of the screen that looks like a double frame. Drop and drag a square around your silhouette and choose “trace”. I deleted the inside image and was left with the following outline. You can now size this image to your desired specifications.

How to take good silhouette photos

Step 2-8:

Step 2: Print your silhouette image on your double sided adhesive paper. This paper is like double sided tape.

Step 3: I created a cute heart cut-out on a cardstock card. I flipped the heart upside down and used the ruler feature on the Silhouette to align my heart properly on my card.

Step 4-6: Peel off the yellow backing from your silhouette image and stick to the inside of your card. Peel off the front paper from your image to reveal the sticky tape surface.

Step 7: Choose a glitter or flocking agent to use that comes in your Silhouette Double Sided Adhesive Starter Kit. Spread generously over the sticky surface.

Step 8: Use a dry paint brush to gently remove any excess.